Resource Details

Tree plantations on farms: Evaluating growth and potential for success

Literature: Journal Articles

Hall, J.S., Love, B.E., Garen, E.J., Slusser, J.L., Saltonstall, K., Mathias, S., Breugel, M.V., Ibarra, D., Bork, E.W., Spaner, D., Wishnie, M.H. & Ashton, M.S. 2011, "Tree plantations on farms: Evaluating growth and potential for success", Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 261, no. 10, pp. 1675-1683.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 0843-03092, Panamá, Panama
  • Department of Agriculture, Food, and Nutritional Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 370 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, United States
  • United States Peace Corps, Panamá American Embassy, Edif. 104, 1er piso, Ciudad del Saber, Clayto, Panamá, Panama


Forest Ecology & Management

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Species Info

  • Cedrela odorata
  • Pachira quinata
  • Samanea saman
  • Tabebuia rosea


  • This article discusses research conducted in the dry forest of Panama to compare differences in the growth and survivorship of four native tree species planted on farms and in a species selection trial at two sites (Los Santos & Rio Hato).
  • Farmer interest in and the growth performance of the 61 tree species planted in the species selection trial at these sites were measured as well.
  • The farm plantations were established following the methods used in the species selection trial, and farmers were encouraged to follow the management practices used in the selection trial; however, management of farm plantations was ultimately the choice of the farmers, with no control for intercropping or animal grazing. 
  • In the two sites, farmers planted monoculture plots (2004 & 2005) and mixtures (2006).
  • In 2009, the basal diameter, height and survivorship were measured in a central block of 6m x 7m within each plot.
  • Soil quality varied markedly between the two sites, with fertile, deep, well-drained soil at one (Los Santos) and highly-weathered, infertile soil in the other (Rio Hato).
  • Growth of 3 species (C. odorata, T. rosea, &P. quinata) was found to be significantly higher in farm plantations with fertile soil.
  • In general, growth and survivorship were lower on farms than in the species selection trial, with less variability between the farm plantations and the trial observed at Los Santos than at Rio Hato. 
  • Across farms, one species (S. saman) exhibited high and consistent survival rates, with growth rates below the species selection trial but still good, recommending it as a possible choice for extension projects. 
  • The authors suggest that C. odorata, T. rosea, andP. quinata be further considered for extension projects but only with careful consideration to site and management practices. 
  • Specifically, they recommend that C. odorata should not be planted in monocultures, due to shoot borer attack, while also suggesting that P. quinata may be a more viable option in fertile soil.

Geographical Region

  • Southern Central America
  • Country

  • Panama
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